Makes my heart skip


There was a mini-revolt in the playground last Friday when my youngest daughter was off sick. Every Thursday night she and three of her friends go to skipping training in a nearby suburb, armed with fists full of money they’ve been given to buy skipping ropes for kids at their school.

The youngest marched out with 13 skipping ropes she was meant to distribute … but fell ill with a virus overnight and still hasn’t recovered. So 13 kids have been left ropeless and ropeable, while those who ordered from the others are happily skipping around the playground with the school’s latest must-have accessory.


Playground revolt aside, I have to admit I’m absurdly proud of my youngest’s passion and how it’s spread. Of all the things to become a schoolyard obsession, I reckon skipping is pretty worthwhile. The youngest skips from the moment she wakes until the moment she sleeps. She’s a little piece of muscle-bound gristle who’d give Madonna’s abs a run for their money.

It’s been 18 months since the youngest started her skipping lessons, then taught her teacher and classmates the moves. Her “child of the week” certificate last year was for “getting the whole class skipping”. In fact, her teacher was so impressed that she launched a skipping club at the school this year and it’s gone ape. My youngest is one of the instructors, teaching the other kids double-unders, speed techniques etc.

Winning four medals at the state skipping championships (under 8s) a few months ago totally blitzed her. She was so damn pleased with herself.

Here’s her routine …

I think what makes me so pleased too, aside from the positive health aspects of it all, is what a changed little girl I have. I’ll never forget how traumatised and withdrawn she was in kindy. Looking at her now, it feels like nothing short of a miracle.

I blame myself a little for her rocky start to school. She’s a March birthday girl like her mum and, like her mum, I thought there was nothing wrong with bundling her off to school at age four. It might have turned out OK if she hasn’t endured a severe bluebottle sting a few weeks before starting school, choked on a squid leg at yum cha two weeks into term 1 (and required a rather terrifying Heimlich Maneuver when she couldn’t breathe), then got bitten so badly by a boy in the playground the next day that she still had a full set of teeth marks in her arm when I picked her up at 3pm.

All that was too much for the little sprite: she developed agoraphobia and only ate miniscule amounts of yoghurt and mashed potato for months afterwards. It was awful. Terrifying actually.

And now she’s queen of the kids. I never put much stock in stuff like that – it wasn’t part of my journey – but it fills me with joy to see her shine.

Song of the day: Elton John “Your song”



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